Ringing in the New Year: looking ahead in 2017

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We rang in the new year quietly with a mildly alcoholic drink and a movie.  No late night parties for us or big celebrations in a bar or hotel ballroom.  Maybe it’s because we’re not in our twenties anymore or just that we enjoy being at home with our canine friends.  Whatever the reason, we were satisfied with our quiet evening at home.  We are at the point where we didn’t even have to explain to each other why we spent our evening at home.  Our priorities had changed.   Continue reading

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A first place ribbon at the Quilt Show!

 

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Look at that winning smile!

The past week or so has been jam packed.  Larry and I went on a vacation — more on that later.  My friend BJ came for a few days and we attended the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza at Oaks, PA.  BJ is a master quilter and had entered one of her quilts in the Show.  I felt very fortunate that I live close to Oaks so I got a nice visit with her.  I went last year —  without BJ — and did a post about it with a picture of her quilt with a ribbon.  This year we went together, and, yes, another ribbon.  I was not surprised because BJ is one good quilter.   BJ retired a few years before I did and decided to pursue her love of fiber and become a professional quilter.

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My one year blog-anniversary

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One year ago I wrote my first blog post.  At that time I was embarking on a new life in a new town.  We had packed up the car with our two dogs, and left DC for Pennsylvania.  How have I spent my first year outside the office?  Well, let me tell you, it hasn’t been boring or mundane.   The journey has begun.

Let me count the ways.

I gained a new appreciation for sitting quietly by my peaceful pond and do nothing.

I put in a backyard garden and understood how hard it was to successfully grow food to feed yourself and your family.

I realized that not only did I not miss getting up every day to dress for the office and embark on the morning commute, but I didn’t miss spending the day in the office and keeping the boss happy.

I cultivated an eye for wildlife all around me:  Mallard ducks and woodpeckers, rabbits and deer and chipmunks and butterflies.  I learned to be patient and wait for them to come out and show themselves.

I got back into the practice of cooking not because I had to but because I wanted to.

I lingered in local shops to get to know strangers who became friends.  I let down my guard and learned that trust is easier than it seems.

I left the house without locking my door and didn’t think twice about it.

My blood pressure went down, way down and stayed low.

I stopped worrying about things that didn’t matter.

What about year two?

Now that I’ve taken a look back, what’s in store for me in the coming year?  One of the things I started with at the beginning of the year was genealogy research.  I started a project of finding out more about my family history just over a year ago.   Then life got in the way, most importantly, both of my parents, who are elderly, began to decline and became more frail.  We had to clear out their house to get it ready to sell.  I found a few of my relatives and connected with my second cousin who live in New Jersey.  My year two plan is to start the work of adding more leaves on the family tree and get it in a form that I can share with my relatives and for those who come behind me.

I want to write more, beyond the format of this blog.

My backyard garden project continues, with failures and successes.  Before the season ends I need to map my garden on paper and catalogue what worked and what didn’t.  Over the winter I will begin the task of planning the garden in a more scientific way, putting planting dates on the calendar, starting seeds indoors, and investigating ways to prevent pests from destroying my zucchini and eggplants.

We have travel plans in the next twelve months and beyond.  I will be blogging about that.

I want to try at least three new things.  Stay tuned!  No, I will not be jumping out of an airplane or bungee jumping.  I will be planting fruit trees, spending more time outdoors, and getting creative.

Want to join me?  What new things do you want to try?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

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There is an old adage that says absence makes the heart grow fonder.    I was thinking about this recently because my husband is away for a while.   When he travels he says that I don’t miss him, while he misses me.  That isn’t exactly true.  What happens is that I adjust to him being away, which in my book means that if I think too much about missing him I have a harder time during the separation. Continue reading

Survivor’s guilt: am I good enough without a real job?

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A few days ago I hit day sixty of my post-retirement life.  A lot has happened in two months.  I moved, left my career and friends in the DC area, got to know a new community and neighbors, and started working with a volunteer organization.  I’ve kept busy and engaged with all kinds of tasks, but every once in a while I think about that prior life when my value came from my job title and the size of my office and the number of people I managed.  What is my value now?  Am I a success or a failure? Continue reading

Little Lost Creek Alpaca Farm

One of the alpacas at Little Lost Creek farm

One of the alpacas at Little Lost Creek farm

We recently visited an alpaca farm in Salford, PA about five miles from our house.  I met one of the owners, Alex Frazier, at a craft fair at Pennypacker Mills.  He and his wife Sandy are the owners of the Little Lost Creek Alpaca Farm.  He told us about their upcoming open house and we decided to take a look.  By the way, it’s called Little Lost Creek because the creek so rarely has water in it that it gets “lost”.  Continue reading